Raleigh Tavern, Williamsburg
Established about 1717, the Raleigh's namesake was Sir Walter Raleigh whose lead bust stood above the door; during Publick Times in April and October, planters and merchants from all over the colony passed beneath it on the way to the court. Some adjourned to play dice in the gaming room or to feast in the dining room.
The tavern served many interests. Theater tickets were sold at the Raleigh, and merchandise and slaves were auctioned from its steps. Though he usually stayed elsewhere, Washington often dined at the Raleigh. So did many leading Virginians.
When the House of Burgesses protested the Townshend Acts in 1769 and Governor Botetourt dissolved the chamber for its disrespect, bolder members reconvened at the tavern. There they formed a nonimportation association, agreeing to suspend the purchase of various goods from British merchants. It might have been called a boycott, but the word would not be invented for another 111 years.
On May 27, 1774, Governor Dunmore dissolved the House of Burgesses again for objecting to the closing of the Port of Boston after its Tea Party, and again 89 burgesses reassembled at the Raleigh to form another nonimportation association.
Raleigh Tavern was the hub of the Williamsburg community on the eve of the revolution where plans were made that would eventually lead to our leaving England and uniting with the other colonies, igniting the flames of the American Revolution.
Colonial Williamsburg's first exhibition building, the reconstructed Raleigh, was dedicated September 16, 1932.
the raleigh tavern was built in 1717 and is named after sir walter raleigh. in 1769 colonial governor botetourt dissolved the house of burgesses and they reconvened at the raleigh taven. in 1776 a group of students from the college of william and mary founded the phi beta kappa academic fraternity here. for most of the tavern's existance the front steps of the tavern were used for slave auctions. the raleigh tavern burned in 1859 and was reconstructed in 1932. today you can dine in this historic location.
Whether over an elegant meal, drinks, or an evening in the Billiards Room, the Raleigh Tavern was where members of the community met to discuss the events of the time. It was the hub of the Williamsburg community on the eve of the revolution where plans were made that would eventually lead to our leaving England, uniting with the other colonies, and the American Revolution. Meet "People of the Past" as 18th-century tavern staff and their guests.
Visit the Raleigh Tavern Bakery, located behind the Raleigh Tavern, serving gingerbread cakes, ham biscuits, root beer, apple cider and other treats.